Sunday, March 20, 2016

I'm a Sucker for Sapsuckers

Maureen is away in Texas this weekend, which is unfortunate for me in every way but one: she left behind her big lens. Happy to take advantage of a rare opportunity I knew I wanted to spend a good deal of time outdoors, and shockingly, the weather actually cooperated with after 3 straight weeks(!) of rain. So directly after work on Friday I set out, first to Woodmansee Park (interrupting countless rounds of frisbee golf every step of the way), and then to Minto-Brown.

Bushtit

Song Sparrow

American Robin. Cold-blooded killa

Friday's highlight wasn't a bird, but actually a copulating pair of… I'll say robber flies? As they whizzed by me I couldn't quite tell what was happening, so I followed until they landed and I could sidle up and play voyeur. As the male gripped the branch above above him, he inseminated the female below while she was busy feasting on her nuptial gift. 



I returned to Minto-Brown again in the morning, when I wasn't racing the sun. But I did soon decide to see how many species I could rack up before I needed food or water (neither of which I'd thought to bring). There's a certain trail that I recently visited, sans camera, when I happened upon a very cooperative Red-breasted Sapsucker (x Red-naped Sapsucker hybrid? See comment below). I'd cursed myself for not being better prepared, and crossed my fingers that I might luck into another close encounter. 





I was NOT disappointed. It turned out that this particular stand of trees is frequented by two sapsuckers, and their handiwork was visible all around. I could have watched them all day. 




Even though we've lived hear for (just about) two years, and Minto-Brown is one of the premier parks in the Salem area, there are miles of trails we've never explored. You think you're going to take one path to the end, and then it splits. You choose a path and it splits again. Now I'd decided to finally do some serious exploring, and the park rejected me. Time and again I'd have to backtrack after finding trails flooded out. 

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Hopefully not the last Varied Thrush of the season

Brush Rabbit

Song Sparrow

I did still manage to see more of the park than ever before, and wherever I explored there was one constant: singing Bewick's Wrens. They were everywhere. And very much out in the open. The three photos below are of three different individual birds - just a small sample of the day's tally.

Bewick's Wren



6 comments:

  1. Great sapsucker shots! That bird is actually a Red-naped X Red-breasted I reckon; note that the head looks a lot like a Red-naped but with some extra red splashed over it.

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    1. Thanks! And, say whaaaaa?! Now that you've pointed it out, I can definitely see what you mean. It's not something I'd thought to look for around Salem, but I guess I need to be more careful. Thanks for the heads-up!

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  2. Very cool Sapsucker hybrid##

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  3. Nice photos Nicholas. You saw some cool birds including the RBSA

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    1. Thanks, Mike! It was a beautiful day for exploring

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